Mother Jones profiles subprime lending in the used car industry:
Credit Acceptance makes its loans knowing that a large portion of its customers won't have the happy endings advertised in the promotional materials. The company operates on the assumption that it will collect only about 70 percent of the money it lends out—which means it will end up repossessing an awful lot of cars and suing those customers for the balance. As Wall Street banks clamored for more securities built on subprime auto debt, Credit Acceptance pumped out ever more paper, boosting loan volume by 23 percent in 2010 and 30 percent in 2011. (Growth has been slower in subsequent years due to increased competition, notes the company's 2014 annual report.) In the meantime, subprime lenders have boosted their average interest rate on used cars from 16 percent to nearly 20 percent annually, guaranteeing that more customers will default and end up with punitive court judgments and garnished wages.[more inside]
"Douglas County Model" gives libraries new e-book leverage — The public library system in Douglas County, where bedroom suburbs rub shoulders with century-old ranches, might seem an unlikely game-changer in the world of publishing. But the county's innovative e-book lending platform, which aims to flip the dynamic between publishers and libraries, is giving hope to cash-strapped libraries from Alaska to Australia that they'll be able to offer more electronic material to users, for less money. From The Denver Post, 11/21/2013.
Payday lenders target the working poor with quick loans at exorbitant interest rates. When a ballot initiative drive in Missouri threatened this lucrative business, the payday lenders fought back with everything they had--their money. A ProPublica report, published yesterday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch documents the web of secret donations and intimidation that smothered the reform movement.
What really concerns librarians; what do they discuss when they self-organise and decide for themselves? After the inaugural UK event, the second UK Librarycamp, with around 200 attendees, was recently held; reflections by Frank Norman, Carolin Schneider  , Sarah Wolfenden, Amy Faye Finnegan, Shambrarian Knights, Michelle, Jennifer Yellin, Jenni Hughes, Bookshelf Guardian, Amy Cross-Menzies and Simon Barron, and by one of the organisers. [more inside]
In this little-known but fast-growing corner of the auto market, dealers command premium prices for road-worn vehicles and finance the sales at interest rates that can top 30%.
Return My Pants! There is no "About" page, or FAQ, or even site directions. You have two choices: Lend or Borrow.
Sodnomdarjaa Khaltarkhuu never expected to be a metaphor for the far-reaching impacts of the financial downturn.
"The calculation of Libor is co-ordinated by just two people, who work in an unremarkable open-plan office in London’s Docklands .. They do this electronically, but sometimes the co-ordinators make a phone call to a bank that hasn’t sent in its estimates, and if the latter seem implausible – typos, for example, are fairly common – they’re checked, also with a quick call: ‘Hi there, is the Kiwi chap [provider of the estimates for borrowing New Zealand dollars] about? . . . Bit of a spread on the two month. Everyone else is coming in a good bit under that.’" Calculating the Libor and how London became the center of the international money markets, from the LBR.
For those of you who haven't been following The Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter and other purveyors of financial and real estate schadenfreude, the sub-prime mortgage market is in some serious trouble. The stock charts of the likes of New Century Financial and Fremont say a lot, although BusinessWeek and MarketWatch have been helpful in explaining. Is there really fraud in 70% of early payment defaults? I know traders are given to hyperbole, but Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch as "almost junk"?
Worse Than the World Bank? Export Credit Agencies--The Secret Engine of Globalization The amount of investment that export credit agencies (ECA) support worldwide is significantly greater than the total amount of lending from the World Bank, IMF and all other multilateral institutions combined. ECA's account for the single biggest component of developing country debt and half of all new greenhouse gas-emitting industrial projects in developing countries have some sort of ECA support. Investments in places like Guatemala, South Africa, Pakistan, Chile [PDF], have had unacceptable social, environmental and economic consequences. Administered or backed by a government, an ECA uses taxpayer money to make it cheaper and less risky for domestic corporations to export or invest overseas. ECAs privatize the profit and socialize the risk while negatively impacting indigenous cultures and enironments, all with little or no governmental oversight or public awareness of the matter. So what can we do about it? [PDF]
The problem isn't too much greed, but too much cowardly greed. "Spineless lenders, weak-kneed investors and meddling regulators intent on reducing risk pose a greater threat to the global economy than the volatile financial markets... 'The critic's image of the global financial markets as a giant casino is wrong," [writes British financial writer Daniel Ben-Ami], 'On the contrary, the modern financial markets are more often characterized by a fear of risk-taking than a reckless disregard for danger.'"